Let’s talk about treble and bass clefs
Music Theory

Let’s talk about treble and bass clefs

The clef is the character in the staff that determines the arrangement of notes and their pitch. There are three types of musical keys:

  • “before”;
  • “F”;
  • “salt”.

Each group contains several keys.

One sign determines the position of one note, from which all others are counted.

The treble clef denotes “salt” in writing – this note is located on the line that passes through the curl of the symbol. The group of bass clefs indicates the location of the note “fa” – on a line that passes through two points. Several clefs are used to indicate the location of the “do” note, and a line is drawn through the center of the clef.



Treble clefs

Modern composers and performers use the treble clef. This symbol denotes the “G” note of the first octave on the staff. Where it is written, the key begins its first turn. Above the “salt” is “la” and the notes going up, below it – “fa” and all the rest. 200-300 years ago, in addition to the treble clef, an old French clef was used. With its help, they recorded parts for the flute. Now this symbol has been abandoned, and it is required only in the restoration of ancient melodies.

Let’s talk about treble and bass clefs

In the treble clef they write:

  • parts for female vocals and male high voice – tenor;
  • sheet music for violin, guitar, percussion and wind instruments;
  • sheet music for the right hand of the piano.

High sounds are recorded mainly in the treble clef, since it covers the first and second octaves .

bass clefs

The group of clefs denoting the note “fa” includes the most common bass clef after the treble clef. Its curl begins on the second line of the staff from the top, where the “fa” is located. The bass clef is used to record a part for:

  • instruments with a low sound like: bassoon, cello;
  • double bass (performed an octave lower) and the left hand of the piano;
  • baritone and bass.

The “fa” group includes the baritone and bassoprofund clefs, but they are rarely used.

The first writes “fa” on the middle line, and the second – on the top line. The bassoprofund clef is used only for recording ancient works.

Как выучить ноты Басового Ключа.


“before” keys

Basically, vocal parts are recorded in these symbols, so they are called as singing voices.

  1. Soprano – a similar name – treble; denotes the note “to” on the bottom line of the staff.
  2. Mezzo -soprano – writes “to” on the second line.
  3. Tenor – places “do” on the fourth line.
  4. Baritone – writes a note on the fifth line. It coincides with the spelling of the note “fa”, therefore it refers to two groups of keys at once – “do” and “fa”.

Alto keys

With the help of this sign, the note “do” is recorded on the third line of the stave. The alto clef is used to record parts for the following musical instruments:

  • viola;
  • trombone.

Sometimes the sign is used to record vocal parts.

Let’s look at examples

At first glance, it would be more convenient to record different parts with one character. But thanks to the variety of musical keys, notes are read conveniently, because they are written on the main lines of the staff, and not on additional ones, which visually aggravate perception. The composition is recorded compactly.

Here’s what an easy-to-read stave looks like:

Let’s talk about treble and bass clefs

And here is the staff with additional lines that make it harder to read:

Let’s talk about treble and bass clefs

Bass and treble clef system

Although the treble and bass clef each have a separate staff on which they are located, these signs are combined into one system. The reason for this is the note “to” of the first octave and its spelling: in the treble clef stave it is indicated below on the additional line, and in the bass – also on the additional line, but at the top.

As a result, two staves continue each other with the help of “do”, forming an 11-line system. More sounds are recorded, musical notations are not overloaded with additional lines.

Using the treble and bass clef system, notes are recorded for musical instruments with a large range of om: organ, accordion , piano or button accordion.

How to read the key

The musical key is the starting point for reading instrumental or vocal parts. To read them correctly, you need to remember the designation of each and the location on the stave.

Answers on questions

1. How many keys are there in music?There are three main groups of keys: “do”, “fa”, “salt”.
2. What note does the treble clef represent?The note “salt” on the first octave.
3. What note is the bass clef used to represent?The note “fa” of a small octave.
4. Why are musical keys used?To make it easier to read the staff and avoid extra lines.


Musical keys are divided into three groups depending on the designation of a particular note. The treble clef indicates the place of recording the note “la”, bass – notes “fa”, alto and others – for the note “do”. The most common are the treble and bass clefs, which are combined into a system. Using a specific symbol makes it easier to read the part of a vocal or instrumental piece without the use of additional staff lines.

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